Life Update – Christmas Break – First Day of School
We are now in the second full week of January and we’re getting a better sense of life rhythms. There are a few things I really wish I had taken photos of, but alas I did not. In this update I’ll share photos from our trip to Dangriga, Annabelle’s school experience, updates about our work permits/visas, and how our work is shaping up.
1) Chewie Update: Chewie is lost forever. Annabelle is sad, but handling it well. Fortunately her chewie wasn’t a stuffed animal out of production, but a blanket made by Missy’s amazing mom, Naomi. This was actually Chewie#Twoie. I’m sure Chewie#Three is nearly born and will be on it’s way to a loving, chewing home here in Belize soon.
2) No work permits yet. I applied for mine on November 8th! Once I get my work permit, we can apply for Annabelle’s Dependency Visa. The good news is we were granted Visa extensions, and were able to do that at the border in Benque Viejo. It’s much easier and faster there than the capital, Belmopan. MAJOR UPDATE!!! THIS JUST IN!!! As I was writing this, Missy received her approval to practice from the Ministry of Health. We still need work permits, but this is a huge hurdle and a major praise.
3) If you would like to support our work here in Belize, we would be most grateful. You can make a tax deductible donation through SAMS in order to do this. Here is a link to our giving page.
Annabelle started school this week. So far it’s going very well. There are the usual issues that accompany assimilating into a new group of kids, but she doing a great job of navigating them. At her school, students have an hour for lunch and for the younger kids, parents come to have lunch with them, or take them home. We have really enjoyed this rhythm! While we’re there we spend time with kids from the church as well.
There is an amazing city park a couple of blocks from our house. We’ve gone quite a bit, but only just noticed the little library! It is like a taste of home, as these are all over Charlottesville. It even had a book from the Magic Treehouse Series. It really felt like a gift from God.
Playground: The park is relatively new, and is perched on the highest hill in town. It is such a gift to live near here!
David and Mary Beth came to our place for a New Years day dinner at our place. It has been so much fun getting to know them and working on our friendship. We’re so grateful for them!
I started playing music at church last week. I have had to learn a lot of new music and I think it went pretty well. I’m excited to do more of that. David hurt his elbow this past year and playing guitar aggravates his injury, so he was ready for me to start playing.
I was asked to start teaching beginner guitar lessons. I taught my first class this past week and it was SO MUCH FUN! All of the kids are at St. Andrews school and some are a part of the church as well. I taught them the phrase, “I tune because I care” and we learned to tune our instruments.
We have transportation! This makes so many things easier. FYI, no supporter funds went to the purchase of the motorcycle. I sold my bike in the states to fund our transportation here. It is an inexpensive 250cc Chinese made enduro bike.
MB and Annabelle: I just love this photo. Annabelle just loves Mary Beth and Mary Beth is so sweet to her.
Trash Guys: This is how they come pick up the trash. Fortunately the tractor is loud, so we hear it and remember to put the trash out!
No matter how many times we told Annabelle we were moving to the jungle, she thought we were going to live at the beach. To help with this, we promised Annabelle a trip to the beach before school started. The travel to and from Dangriga was absolutely perfect with no delays at all! When we were changing buses, a tour guide asked us where we were going. I told him and he said, “Why?! Dangriga is horrible.” On that happy note, we kept on. Our plan was to stay at a cheap little beach front place and eat some meals at a local resort so we could use their facilities.
- Dangriga is the center of Garufina culture in Belize, a culture of freed Caribbean slaves. Missy said it felt more like Africa than Belize.
- The food was SO GOOD.
- A lot of wind meant no crystal clear water, and it pushed seaweed up on the shore.
- We had breakfast with some missionaries there who are friends of friends (Thanks for the introduction, Jonathan Ruel!). After breakfast they asked us to help unload a truck. It was a truck of Operation Christmas Child boxes. Talk about a workout!
- There was a lot of trash around the shore, and Missy cut her foot on glass.
- The resort was AWESOME. Annabelle swam a lot.
- Belizian Beignet are Fry Jacks (flour dough pockets) covered in powdered sugar. Incredible!
- Annabelle apparently loves Cooking Competition Shows. We don’t have a television and this was all she wanted to watch. She would plan out her strategy to the challenges. She would always ” top it off with Chocolate Ganache.”
- We were so grateful for this time to settle before Annabelle jumped into school.